Babcock’s Transport Solutions business unit ended the 2019 financial year in impressive form by surpassing its previous sales record of new DAF Trucks in a financial year by 10%. The business unit continued to keep the wheels turning by selling more trucks in March than the entire first year of trading.
“We had a great run on sales towards the end of our financial year, mainly due to the restructuring of our DAF product range, giving us the ability to offer DAF Trucks into additional market segments and applications,” says Mark Gavin, Sales Director for Babcock’s Transport Solutions business unit.
“During the latter part of 2018, we made significant efforts to increase sales activity, particularly in the Gauteng region. This paid dividends from January to March, with a record number of orders for DAF Trucks received. For the first time in many years, we also received orders from the Western and Eastern Cape markets, after increased sales activity in these regions,” says Gavin. He adds that the entire sales team nationally contributed to this achievement. “There was a massive collaboration of effort from the whole of the Transport Solutions business unit to get these vehicles prepared for delivery during the last three months of the year. Every department pulled out all the stops to make this happen.”
Collaboration and customer relationships are hallmarks of Babcock and its people who are trusted to deliver to the highest standards. Distributed exclusively by Babcock in southern Africa, DAF Trucks are optimally designed for maximum efficiency, reliability and highest driver comfort. The DAF range available in southern Africa includes the XF105 for long distance haulage and the CF85 for regional and construction transport.
Lean, tough, smart
Dean Temlett, Product Manager for Babcock’s Transport Solutions business unit, elaborates on the improvements and modifications to the range, which now comprises the following models:
- DAF CF85.460 FTT SR1360 LEAN
- DAF CF85.460 FTT HR1670 TOUGH
- DAF XF105.460 FTT SR1360 SMART
- DAF XF105.460 FTT SR1360 PREMIUM
- DAF XF105.510 FTT SR1360 POWER
- DAF XF105.460 FTT HR1670 ROBUST
- DAF XF105.460 FTT HR1670 HEAVY HAULER
“The changes to the product portfolio have been three-fold: we have introduced some ‘successor’ models and features; tweaked and evolved existing models; and aligned specifications to create a more balanced model mix,” explains Temlett.
“In the first instance, the ‘successor’ models aim to target both workhorse and premium long-haul market segments by offering products that are optimally fit for purpose. For example, the introduction of the Paccar MX-340 (460hp) engine on the CF85 series meant we could introduce the LEAN and TOUGH spec models, which replace the previous CF85.410 models and the XF105.460 ONROAD spec model. These models boast the same chassis and driveline as the XF105.460 models, while sporting a slightly narrower and lower roof ‘single-sleeper’ cab – which is ideal for many operations such as outbound logistics in the commodity transport segment where larger cabs might not be necessary. The smaller cab also means reduced aerodynamic drag, and, consequently, improved fuel consumption on combinations with shallower trailer heights such as flat decks, side-tippers, tankers, etc. These CF85 models have also been trimmed to keep vehicle costs low, while still delivering the exceptional performance and reliability of the XF105 models.
“Conversely, an XF105.510 FTT Super Space cab POWER model was introduced to target the upper premium segment, where clients value the ultra-spacious Super Space cab with all the bells and whistles, while introducing the Paccar MX-375 (510hp) Euro 5 SCR engine for higher performance and productivity purposes,” says Temlett. “This is essentially our new flagship model that supersedes the previous XF105.460 Super Space cab model launched in 2018, as we are confident that our target audience will be eager to also have it with the extra power under foot. The engine also makes use of a Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and AdBlue® system to treat the exhaust gas in order to achieve Euro 5 emission levels, which is an extra feather in the cap for these transporters to relay to their customers. This model also includes Alcoa aluminium rims and advanced active safety equipment such as ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control), LDWS (Lane Departure Warning System), FCWS (Forward Collision Warning System) and VSC (Vehicle Stability Control).”
Temlett says that as part of the second component of the restructured product portfolio, other models in the range underwent some specification improvements, such as the introduction of the latest Michelin Multi HD Drive tyres for improved tyre-CPK (cost per kilometre) values in long-haul fleets. He adds that most notably, there were some major improvements to the PREMIUM spec model, which includes the introduction of ACC, LDWS, FCWS and VSC, as well as some additional driver comfort features such as the Xtra Comfort orthopaedic mattress on the lower bunk and the 65-litre cooler box under the lower bunk. Models with hub reduction drive axles were also upgraded from the previous DAF HR1355 axles to the DAF HR1670 versions, which tower the competition with their 16-tonne rating per axle. The HEAVY HAULER model was also upgraded to now include a ZF-PTO (power take-off), and wider 385/65R22,5 tyres on the steering axle. “These were frequently requested changes, so we decided to standardise on them from the Eindhoven assembly factory,” says Temlett.
Lastly, Temlett says that all the models have been specified with common drivelines and grouped features depending on whether they are single reduction or hub reduction rear axles. This ensures alignment with the broader application segments, as well as ensuring rational parts commonality from an aftermarket support position.
Three cab trims, namely Ecoline, Trendline and Highline version, have also been defined and strategically specified on each model to ensure a similar commonality of peripheral features for similar reasons.
“All in all, these changes will serve to enhance DAF’s reputation of offering industry-leading trucks, and Babcock is ready to meet the increased demand from customers in southern Africa who are looking for the highest transport efficiency,” concludes Gavin.